Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Long Beach Leaders are Readers: Sharon L. Weissman, Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors and Community Leader

Top leaders of the world have the exceptional simple habit of reading. Whether for enjoyment or enrichment, reading stimulates the mind and fuels creativity. Long Beach Leaders are Readers features leaders in our community as they share their recommended reads.

In honor of Library Lovers Month, we could think of no one better suited than our very own Sharon L. Weissman, a Member of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors, Member of the Harbor Board of Commissioners, and Member of the California Library Services Board of Directors. 

Continue reading to learn more about Sharon’s book recommendation and the leader behind it.

The Diary of a Young Girl


Anne Frank

What made you choose The Diary of a Young Girl as your recommendation?

I choose The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank as my book because I believe it is a book that speaks to the troubles of our time. The Holocaust and the death of millions of Jews, Soviet POWs, Poles, Roma and Sinti, the disabled and LGBTQ persons at the hands of the Nazis demonstrates in the most horrible of examples the danger and horror of prejudice and bias. But Anne’s diary also speaks of the courage and kindness of those willing to hide and help those who were targeted by the Nazis. Courage and kindness are what we need very much today. Her most famous quote is the first of these three sentences that follow, but the hope she demonstrates in the first sentence and following two are remarkable considering her circumstance when she wrote them, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”

Were there any stand-out scenes or particular passages from your recommended book that have impacted your life?

Anne’s quote, In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” This is a sentiment I think of when I despair about the world or a personal circumstance. If she could have this optimism in her situation, surely I can in a much less dire situation.

What do you hope other readers get from reading your book recommendation?

I hope they would understand that prejudice never has a good outcome. Kindness and the courage to say that something is wrong or untrue will make this a better country and a better world.

 How old were you when you got your first library card?

I don’t remember not having one.

Did someone read to you when you were a child?

Yes, my mother was a reader and read to my sister and me until we learned to read. This habit has served me well in school and my work life.

Do you prefer paperbacks or e-books?

Although I prefer physical books to e-books, sometimes I am eager to begin a particular book and if the e-book is available from the library, I download it so I can begin reading it right away.

What are your favorite genres to read?

Mystery, historical fiction, literary fiction and humor.

Where is your favorite place to read?

My sofa. 

Is there an author you’d like to meet? Can you share their name or work?

Anne Tyler, I loved her novels Breathing Lessons, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, and The Accidental Tourist, among others.

What’s the last book you read?

Cannery Row (which you can find at your local neighborhood library branch by clicking here)

What book will you read next?

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store

Why do you think reading is important?

I grew up in a family of modest means. Reading made a world that could have been so small, so large. Reading allows us to experience things and places we may never see. Books take us on a journey to so many worlds and we meet so many people.

Finally, if you wrote a memoir, what would the title be?

It’s All About the Story

Sharon L. Weissman, former Senior Advisor to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, is a member of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.  She also served as Mayor Garcia’s liaison to the arts community, the Long Beach Public Library and its support groups, including the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, and Sister Cities organizations. 

Ms. Weissman has a background in public policy, having served as Chief of Staff to Dr. Garcia when he was Vice Mayor of Long Beach and Chief of Staff to former California State Senator and Assemblymember Jenny Oropeza. 

Prior to her work with elected officials, Ms. Weissman was the Director of the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University, Long Beach; the Station Manager of CSULB’s jazz radio station, KLON-FM (now KKJZ), and an instructor at the university in the fields of radio, TV and film.

Serving California, Ms. Weissman was appointed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve on the California Library Services Board from May 2023 through December 2025. Serving her community, Ms. Weissman is a member of the Executive Committee and former President and Vice President of Public Affairs of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation; a member of the Advisory Board of CSULB’s Long Beach Center for Urban Politics and Policy and the Advisory Board of the Museum of Latin American Art; a former Board Member of the Arts Council for Long Beach, the Long Beach Symphony and Sister Cities of Long Beach; and a former Chair of the Long Beach Fair Housing Foundation.

Part of our Long Beach Leaders are Readers program includes inviting the featured leader to sign the inside of their book recommendation so that future patrons who check the book out will be able to learn about the significance of the book to our local leaders. Keep an eye out for the signed recommendations at your local branch!

Find “Diary of a Young Girl” at your local neighborhood library branch!